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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Road Trip to Cinema Wasteland Spring 2018

My bi-annual trip to Strongsville Ohio had arrived again this past weekend. For the uninitiated Cinema Wasteland is the best drive-in/exploitation movie convention going today. Between the guests, vendors, and the crowd it really doesn’t get any better. Being a movie nerd, these weekends are a big deal! Time to dive into the fun.

I always take the Friday before Wasteland off. This allows me to stay up late the night before to adjust my schedule so that I’m not dead tired when the show gets really good. There are a lot of late night screenings plus the party doesn’t get started until the dealer’s room closes. Thursday night I only got one movie in before crashing, though it was a fun one. Since I knew I was going to see the Bloodbaths and Boomsticks guys I decided to check out Graveyard Disturbance. This Lamberto Bava flick has created a lot of debate between the co-hosts so I wanted to check it out. Sorry Tim but Kyle is right that this is a fun flick. So that was Thursday night.

Friday started off late as I rolled out of bed just in time to get lunch with my lovely wife. She doesn’t go to Wasteland but does put up with my movie obsession. After being fortified with a hearty meal I loaded up the car and headed out for my thirty-minute drive to the convention. Okay when I said that I loaded up my car I really mean I grabbed my Abby DVD to get signed. It was a light show for autographs with me just needing to add Terry Carter to the Austin Stoker and Carol Speed signatures already on the DVD. I’ll talk more about meeting Terry Carter later.

I arrived at Wasteland and went to get my three-day pass. After some fun with technology I hung the lanyard around my neck was ready for the convention to open… an hour later. What can I say I was really excited for this show and got to the hotel super early! Luckily, I met up with a friend of mine, Brett, and we retired to the bar for an adult beverage to get the weekend started right. Seeing old friends and shooting the shit about movies has become the highlight of these trips for me and this was just the first of many conversations. After catching up with him I was ready to spend some money in the now open for business dealer’s room.

First stop was Terry Carter’s booth. There was a line, so I figured that I’d hit him up later. Instead I popped over to see Tim and Bootleg Dan. Tim had a new book of short stories that just came out, so I needed to get myself a copy of that. Dan always has odd flicks that aren’t necessarily good, but that I need to see. This time around wasn’t any different as I left his table with a copy of Death Metal Zombies. There will be a review on the Horror Dude Blog for this one eventually. All I will say here is that the nineties weren’t a good time for direct to home video low budget horror flicks.

After seeing the guys, I headed over to 42nd Street Pete’s table. His biography just came out and I needed a copy of that. Pete is a fantastically cool guy that lived thru the craziness of NYC in the late sixties and seventies. His book is filled with great stories and is a must read. I also got my copy of Grindhouse Purgatory, which I’m a contributor to. Haven’t had a chance to dig into it yet, Pete’s book has my attention, but it looks to be another stellar issue. After chatting a bit to him about what I was going to write for the next issue I wandered off to check out what else was available. I picked up a few odds and ends, but nothing of note.

Wasteland Regulars
I thought about hitting some screenings but ended up chatting with the regulars for a couple hours. There was talk of an ice storm and treacherous roads, so I called it early on Friday. I like sleeping in my own bed and since the show isn’t that far away I drive back and forth. That was day one of Wasteland.

Got up early on Saturday, hit McDonalds for my breakfast sandwich, and was on the road. Got to the hotel in time to check out the politically incorrect cartoons, though this time they were sort of tame. But they did start off with some old black and white Disney stuff that you never get to see, much less on film (they were showing it on 16 mm). Got some Looney Tunes and a Woody Woodpecker in there as well. If nothing else, it was a nice trip down memory lane.

Eric and I chilling
Afterwards I wandered for a bit and then popped back in to check out part of Hangover Theater. This is another Wasteland tradition where those nursing an alcohol induced headache can chill out and watch an old movie. This time around they were showing Curse of the Undead which I’ve reviewed for the blog. Decent movie that I’ve only recently discovered and now can say I’ve seen on film, or at least partially seen. After the movie it was time for the Three Stooges! They hit the sweet spot with a one Shemp two Curly ratio that works perfectly. I’m a big Curly fan, but you have to stick a Shemp in there.

Ran into some other friends after the Stooges. Eric and Angie are the hosts of Dead End Cinema where they open their home and backyard for us to watch some movies under the stars. Check out one of my reviews about their events here. We ate some lunch, chatted about movies and the guest list for the October show (more on that later), and generally had a nice visit. Then it was time for more shopping!

What gems did I find on Saturday? First off, I grabbed my Abby DVD and had it signed by Terry Carter. Seriously he was one of the nicest people I’ve met at Wasteland. Friendly, eager to talk and full of killer stories. I remember him from Battlestar Galactica as well as Abby, so I was a bit nervous to meet him. Personally, if I have a bad experience with a celebrity it ruins my ability to enjoy their work. But again, he was a great guy.

I also picked up another book from the Full Moon table. Last Wasteland I grabbed the book about Charles Bands’ years with Empire Pictures. I figured it was time to check out the book about Full Moon Pictures. Movies that I added to my collection were the new Blu-Rays of Dr. Mordrid, Killer Klowns from Outer Space, and the Devil’s Rain. Didn’t own a copy of Mordrid, but the other two were upgrades. That new Killer Klowns disc has some awesome looking special features. Devil’s Rain I picked up because I’m going to review it for Midnight Magazine.

It was a thrill to finally meet Terry Carter. Awesome guy!
I dropped off my purchases in the car and headed back into the convention. It was time for the panel featuring Pat Cardi, Austin Stoker, and Terry Carter. These guys were a pleasure to listen to with all of them telling great stories about their careers. The highlight for me was when Terry Carter spent some time discussing making a movie in England while on vacation from his job as a news anchor. The time flew by and I saw that a lot of people followed them back to their tables to keep ask more questions. Heck Terry Carter didn’t even get a chance to talk Battlestar Galactica!

That was it for the organized stuff. I spent the rest of the day hanging out and talking movies. A group of us did head out and grab some food, but it was just more shooting the breeze and movie talk. Thanks to Kyle and Tim from the Bloodbaths and Boomsticks podcast for letting me tag along to supper. Brett, Scott, Dana, Eric, and Angie thanks to you for sitting around talking flicks. Bootleg Dan you rock even if the movies you recommend don’t! It isn’t Wasteland without some 42nd Street Pete. I know that I’m forgetting people so let me just say if you are part of the crowd at Wasteland thanks. I can’t wait to do it all again in October.

Speaking of October, I’m already incredibly excited. Every Wasteland they drop the first flier for the next show. My favorite slasher movie of all time is My Bloody Valentine and we are getting a cast and crew reunion show! This shall be an epic weekend that I’m sure I’ll never forget. Now if we can just get North Korea and Russia not to blow the world up before then that would be great.

© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer

1 comment:

  1. Outstanding! I felt like I was with you! (Wish I was!)